About Us

The Appalachian State University Geological and Environmental Sciences (AGES) Department provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a successful career in the geosciences and environmental sciences. 

We are the largest undergraduate geosciences department in the UNC system, and we have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in earth and environmental sciences available in the southeastern United States.

At AGES, we offer the following degree programs and concentrations:

See our What should I major in? page to determine if our programs are right for you!

See our Get Involved! page for opportunities for AGES students in research, outreach, and teaching.

What should I major in?

Many students come into our program a bit confused as to what the geosciences and environmental sciences actually are.

  • "What's the difference between environmental studies and environmental science?"
  • "Isn't geology just about rocks?" (no!)
  • "What is better for the job I want? A geology degree or an environmental science degree?"

Our What should I major in? page will help guide you to the degree track that is right for you - either in this department or in a different department.

If you're not yet sure you want to major in Geology or Environmental Science, take one (or more) of our many General Education classes - learn about water resources, environmental cleanup, dinosaurs, oceanography, natural disasters, energy resources, fossils, and of course... rocks.  According to Slate, "Introductory Geology classes are the best science electives" and we certainly agree!

Ask A Geologist

You've got questions? We've got answers!  Ask A Geologist!

Did you find something that puzzled you in your backyard or on top of a mountain? Have questions about local environmental problems? Want to know about what's going on in Boone Creek, the Watauga River, and the New River? Concerned about fracking in your region? Do you have a mineral that you can't identify? Think you found a meteorite? We will do our best to answer any geological/environmental question. We also have pages that answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

What's so special about our department?

We study more than just rocks.

Geology is about more than just rocks.

Environmental Science is about more than just ecology, policy, or regulations.

What is Geology?

Our faculty have expertise in all fields of the Earth and Environmental sciences.

Click on our each of our research programs below to see what we do!

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How does the earth move?

 tectonics.jpg

Tectonics Research Group:

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What processes affect water supply and quality?

researchers in river

Hydrology and Environmental Geology Research Group:

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What do fossils tell us?

bone microscopy image

Paleontology Research Group:

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What do landforms tell us? How do humans influence landscapes?

Surface processes

Surface Processes Research Group

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What do the minerals in rocks tell us? What is the role they play in the environment?

mineral microscopy image

Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry Research Group:

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How is Earth's climate recorded in minerals, rocks, sediment, water, and ice? How has climate changed through time?

Records of Climate Change

Records of Climate Change Research Group:

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Latest News

Dr. Scott Marshall interviewed about the 2020 Sparta, NC earthquake

Dr. Scott Marshall was interviewed by Spectrum News Triad about the August 2020 Mag 5.1 earthquake in Sparta, NC after the fault line for the earthqua...

AGES faculty Carmichael, Edwards, Waters, and Toran and their students receive NSF funding to study mass extinctions

Drs. Sarah Carmichael, Cole Edwards, Johnny Waters, and Outreach Coordinator Marta Toran have received funding from the National Science Foundation to...

Dr Andy Heckert investigates past life as Fulbright Scholar

Vertebrate paleontologist Dr Andy Heckert has been hard at work as a Fulbright Scholar during his semester of off campus scholarly assignment (sabbati...

SCEC funding to Dr. Scott Marshall supports GES major Savannah Devine '22

Dr. Scott Marshall has been funded by the Southern California Earthquake Center to improve the Community Fault Model. Savannah Devine '22 is one of th...

Dr. Sarah Evans and GES students explore climate change and permafrost, funded by a new NSF grant!

From Appalachian Today:  Appalachian State University’s Dr. Sarah Evans and five undergraduate students will spend the next thre...

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